Gospel of Thomas

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The Gospel of Thomas is a unique apocryphal work that contains 114 verses of brief sayings attributed to Jesus, most of which begin with the words "Jesus said". There are some parallels to the New Testament Gospels, some areas that are contrary, and some areas of completely new creation. It is a "gospel" of sayings that is different in format from the gospels in the proper New Testament, which tell narratives of the life of Jesus.

Viewed by many as a gnostic or proto-gnostic work, the Gospel of Thomas contains some quotes which deviate dramatically from mainstream Christianity, including many misogynist sayings, a verse which seems to promote polytheism, and a strange recurring teaching that women "must become men" in order to merit salvation. Likewise, the work was rejected by Cyril of Jerusalem, an early theologian and Doctor of the Church. Hippolytus and Origen likewise make mention of a "gospel of Thomas" as not having biblical authority.

For many centuries, no surviving text was known. A complete Coptic text of the Gospel of Thomas was among those discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. Dated to sometime in the mid 4th Century, earlier fragments have been found that date to the end of the 2nd Century; its actual time of origin is unknown. It is not recognized as an authoritative text by any Christian denomination, but fascinates Biblical scholars who try to piece together its role in the workings of early Christianity.

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